Just as impressive as Arsenal’s 0-0 draw against Liverpool with 10-men was the away support inside Anfield.
When Granit Xhaka was given his marching orders just before the half-hour mark, there would have been understandable fears of a repeat scoreline from the Gunners’ most recent visit to the red half of Merseyside.
Back in November, Arsenal slumped to a disappointing 4-0 defeat in the Premier League where arguably the turning point came following a heated touchline row between Mikel Arteta and Jurgen Klopp.
This prompted Klopp to confront Arteta and the two had to be held back by members of their own coaching staff, with referee Michael Oliver showing both managers a yellow card.
At the time of the touchline row it was goalless, a few minutes later Liverpool took the lead through Mane and went on to take the game away from the Gunners in a dominant second-half display.
And Reds legend Jamie Carragher felt Arteta’s actions on the touchline only served to get the Anfield crowd fired up and that ultimately played a huge part in the 4-0 scoreline.
“No doubt it was a different Liverpool side in the second half,” Carragher said on Sky Sports. “We all envisioned Liverpool coming out the blocks, but I was impressed with Arsenal’s press at times.
“They played out and there was a good mix but in the second half it wasn’t there. Jurgen Klopp would’ve asked for more intensity, but I definitely think that Arteta and Klopp going head-to-head turned the game as it lifted the place here at Anfield.
“They got the goal as well, so I think then Liverpool knew what they were going to do and pinpoint them. The first 25 minutes of the second half was Liverpool at their very best.
“Virgil Van Dijk has never lost a home Premier League game for Liverpool so it shows how tough it is to come here, and when Liverpool have the bit between their teeth they’re very hard to beat.”
When the two managers locked horns again on Thursday night in the Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg there was to be no repeat of their touchline row, but Xhaka’s red card did lift the Anfield crowd.
However, Arsenal’s away supporters proved why they are by far one of, if not, the best in the league as they chanted non-stop throughout and were the extra man for Arteta’s side after Xhaka’s dismissal.
And they were acknowledged by the Gunners boss afterwards as he called for an even better atmosphere for the second leg at the Emirates Stadium next week.
“I’m expecting now that our fans will create an even better atmosphere than what we’ve seen today, which was really good,” he told Sky Sports. “We’re going to need them to beat a top side.”
Although, Arteta will need Arsenal’s away supporters to repeat the trick as early as Sunday in the North London Derby.
Interestingly, against Liverpool, the Gunners became the first side to prevent the Reds from scoring at Anfield when a crowd was in attendance.
And as pointed out by @jonoblain on Twitter, there will be another first this weekend as Arsenal fans will attend Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the first time since it opened in April 2019.
Of course, that is down to the corresponding fixture in 2019/20 being played behind-closed-doors due to a global pandemic, whilst 2,000 Spurs fans were in attendance for the meeting last season.
The last ‘home’ game in this particular fixture which both sets of fans attended was Tottenham’s final match as Wembley lodgers in March 2019 which ended all square.
Perhaps it’s just a coincidence that the Gunners got a point away at Spurs the last time their supporters were in attendance and have lost the two games at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in which away fans could not make their presence felt.
But that will change on Sunday and if Anfield is anything to go by, Arsenal’s away supporters will play a key role in helping the side get over the line after two tough games in the space of three days.
And that might prove to be the difference-maker especially as the visitors are missing a host of first-team players and results of Covid-19 testing will determine if the club will need to make a formal request to postpone the game.